This piece by NR’s Editors today about the current Republican Senate race in Indiana between the state treasurer Richard Mourdock and six-term incumbent Richard Lugar (that’s 36 years) makes me think of another race. That’s the one raging in Utah that pits another six-term incumbent, Senator Orrin Hatch, against former state senator Dan Liljenquist and state representative Chris Herrod .
It seems to me that Hatch suffers from the same propensity to support big-government policies that Lugar does. FreedomWorks, for instance, has compiled a document on the senator’s record that exposes a pattern of support for policies that expand the size of government and the debt (he voted 16 times to raise the debt ceiling), redistribute earmarks to his district (he was the third-highest earmarker in 2010), support corporate welfare (from TARP to the auto-industry bailout to the bailout of Freddie and Fannie), and kick the can down the road (he was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Medicare Part D legislation.)
Now, the senator isn’t happy about the challenge he faces in his state. On Friday, he shared his feelings about the people questioning his record on NPR:
These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans,” Hatch angrily responds. “They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it.”
Then Hatch, a former boxer, turns combative. “I despise these people, and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.”
The senator also argues that if Mitt Romney were to win the presidential election he would become the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and we could expect great things from him. But looking at the senator’s voting record, we have reasons to doubt that he will support reductions in government spending, the end of corporate welfare, or entitlement reforms. In fact, I think that maybe these “radial libertarians” who he would like to “punch in the mouth” are onto something.